Specs: 1br in a 3br apt. Bathroom, small kitchen, teensy livingroom
NYC neighborhood: Bushwick, Brooklyn
I looked at my first apartment today, answering an ad on Craigslist for a bedroom available in a three-bedroom apartment in the Bushwick area of BK, which required me to take the J train for the first time in my whole life – and I’m a native New Yorker.
When I got off the train, I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
The neighborhood was certainly not the best. To be perfectly honest, and in the words of the girl whose apartment I was going to see, “it’s ghetto.” However, there were lots of families, and I didn’t feel unsafe. While it wasn’t as nice as Astoria, there was a friendly vibe. There was some kind of block party going on as I walked to the apartment, and so blaring reggae followed me down the street. It was actually rather nice. Then, I saw something that I thought could possibly be a sign. Something that told me that maybe good things might happen if I decided to live here. The apartment was on the corner of Evergreen Avenue and:
Surely this was a sign that if I moved here, I’d have a long and healthy writing career (Evergreen), and that I’d eventually get a job with the BBC writing for Doctor Who (Moffat). At the very least, it was a sign that my geekiness knows no bounds in that this was the first thought that popped into my head…
Standing outside the apartment building, I was already skeptical. As I waited to be buzzed in, I stood on the front stoop and looked around. I couldn’t imagine living here. I couldn’t imagine leaving the house everyday and having this be my view. The front door was beat-up, the street devoid of anything welcoming. But I reserved judgement until I could see the apartment.
Angilique, the girl whose apartment I saw, was very nice. Also, very driven. An ambitious 27-year-old dancer and pilates instructor, she was very clear both about what she did want and what she didn’t want in a roommate. We were definitely on the same wavelength artistically. However, I wasn’t sure if this was someone I could live with, though she’d probably be home very little, so it wouldn’t even matter.
It is not to be. The apartment, while cute, is really small. Too small for my stuff, and that’s taking into account that I’m getting rid of a lot of stuff. The bedroom I was looking at for $520 was the size of Liz’s bedroom here in The Commune, and she only pays $300 for it. The slightly larger available room that was going for $565/month would fit my bed, but not much else. There were no closets anywhere in the apartment. While the kitchen and bathroom were new and lovely, there was no furniture anywhere, save an armchair in the corner. There was also no room for any furniture if I wanted to bring mine. There was no TV that I noticed and no cable/internet, so if that’s something I wanted, I’d have to get it on my own.
But the real nail in the coffin is the fact that she wanted to find someone to pay August rent. I can’t do that right now. It’s all I can do to get it together for September.
However, I’m glad I went. You know how people seem to drop into your life exactly when you need them? Well, my chat with Angilique about art and the things we do and don’t sacrifice for it was something I needed to have! It reaffirmed my commitment to this crazy freelance writing idea – mostly because she kept saying things like, “I don’t want to get to be 30 and not have done anything!”
Er….yeah. And yes, she knew I was 31.
So this apartment and I were not meant to be. However, that didn’t stop me from contributing to the local economy, when I spent $1 to buy a really big (and really good!) cup of pink lemonade from some cute kids with a table set up outside their house, and another $1 on an italian ice from a woman pushing an ice cart. Here’s hoping that finance karma will return the favor. Or not, because I don’t think “hoping for it” is how karma works…